MISSION, Texas—Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he is teeing up more lawsuits against the Biden administration for not enforcing immigration law.
With five lawsuits already filed, Paxton said he hopes to force the administration to follow the laws Congress has in place.
“There’s a reason that we’ve sued the Biden administration five times over immigration—tremendous harm is being done to this state, tremendous harm is being done to this nation,” Paxton said during a press conference at the U.S.–Mexico border on April 28. “We’re going to do our best to force the federal government to follow the very laws that they passed.”
Paxton criticized President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for not traveling to the border to see first-hand the effects of their policies.
“It seems like they’re trying to hide a lot of what’s going on. They’re very, very secretive. They’re not letting us know who’s coming in, who’s leaving,” Paxton said.
“If they’re going to have this open border policy, we’re going to be affected by it every day.”
Harris, who has been charged with solving the border crisis, has said she’s focusing on the “root causes” of migration from Central American countries, rather than the immediate issues.
On April 25, when a reporter asked Harris why she hasn’t visited the southern border, she replied, “I’m not going to play political games.”
The administration has been under fire for its rapid dismantling of many of former President Donald Trump’s border security measures.
The number of unaccompanied alien children illegally crossing the border reached a record high in March, with 18,663 children apprehended by Border Patrol—more than double that of February.
A total of more than 168,000 illegal aliens were apprehended by Border Patrol in March, overwhelming facilities and pulling Border Patrol off the border to deal with humanitarian issues.
“This is just a launching point” for the cartels, Paxton said. “They get across the river with their drugs or … whatever they’re smuggling, and it’s going around the country.
“So Americans may think this is a border problem—and certainly it is most intense here, and it affects us maybe more—but it ultimately does affect the entire country.”
Previous Lawsuits Filed
Paxton was quick to sue the Biden administration on Jan. 22 over its day one memorandum suspending the deportation of most illegal aliens. A federal court ruled in favor of Paxton and blocked the suspension, saying the Lone Star state would be harmed by the moratorium.
On April 6, Texas and Louisiana sued the Biden administration for its alleged refusal to take custody of illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes after the administration set rules narrowing its immigration enforcement priorities.
The two attorneys general argue that the memoranda failed to prioritize detention of criminal aliens with final orders of removal, criminal aliens convicted of drug offenses, or criminal aliens convicted of crimes of moral turpitude.
A week later, the Texas attorney general was joined by Missouri in a lawsuit seeking to reinstate Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) program to curb the surge of illegal immigrants at the border. The Biden administration stopped adding individuals to MPP a day after Biden’s inauguration.
MPP, also known as Remain in Mexico, required illegal aliens to wait in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. Before MPP, thousands of illegal immigrants were released into the United States to await their cases, often disappearing into the country and not showing up to their court dates.
On April 22, Paxton sued the Biden administration for disregarding its own COVID-19 rules while handling the surge of illegal immigrants. He alleged that the U.S. government abandoned its own rules “without any meaningful justification or explanation,” resulting in the release of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants into the United States without testing them for coronavirus.
Thirteen states joined Texas to file an emergency application with the Supreme Court on March 30 asking to be allowed to defend the so-called public charge rule in court proceedings after the Biden administration decided not to defend it.
The public charge rule, which requires prospective immigrants to be able to support themselves financially, has been heavily litigated in federal courts. The Supreme Court stayed a lower court’s injunction against the rule in January 2020, allowing it to be enforced, pending disposition of the government’s appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
Paxton said taxpayers in his state are forking out more than $850 million each year to pay for various costs associated with the housing and care of immigrants who enter Texas illegally.